BT cotton is causing allergies, alleges NGO
A THREE-MEMBER investigation team belonging to an NGO has alleged that a large number of farmers of Nimar region who have come in contact with BT cotton are suffering from allergies, which they claim is due to toxins inside that BT cotton seed, which helps the cotton plant fight the deadly American Bollworm.Updated: Feb 18, 2006 14:03 IST
A THREE-MEMBER investigation team belonging to an NGO has alleged that a large number of farmers of Nimar region who have come in contact with BT cotton are suffering from allergies, which they claim is due to toxins inside that BT cotton seed, which helps the cotton plant fight the deadly American Bollworm.
The team, comprising Dr Ashish Gupta, Ashish Mandloi and Amulya Nidhi, carried out the survey in five villages of Barwani and Dhar district between October and December 2005, and they interviewed 23 labourers and farmers.
The team admitted that its study was not an exhaustive one and it covered only those persons who had allergies and had been definitely been exposed to BT cotton plant or had picked up cotton.
Dr Gupta said that all respondents had itching of skin, while 86 per cent of them had eruptions on body and 56 per cent had swelling of face. In some cases, the itching was so severe that they had to discontinue their work, or had to work after taking anti-allergy medicine.
Similar complaints were also received at ginning factory (M/S Vishal Udyog, Barwani), where owner Sunil Patidar told the team that many of his labourers were suffering from allergies due to exposure to BT cotton and that labourers were unwilling to unload BT cotton bales that come from Maharashtra.
The labourers told the team members that itching was a very common problem and most of them took anti-allergy tablets while working.
Doctors of the area contacted by the team said that there has been a spurt of allergic cases in the past two seasons, during which the use of BT cotton seed has increased in the Nimar area.
The team demanded that there was need to conduct a detailed investigation into the matter and taking corrective measures, including spreading awareness among farmers about the likelihood of allergies erupting due to use of BT cotton.
First Published: Feb 18, 2006 14:03 IST